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Peony is a lovely traditional garden favorite, and has been cultivated in home gardens for over 600 years. Considering the beauty of the flower and the longevity of the plants, it is no wonder why it has long been a perennial ...
Peony is a lovely traditional garden favorite, and has been cultivated in home gardens for over 600 years. Considering the beauty of the flower and the longevity of the plants, it is no wonder why it has long been a perennial favorite. The clumps may survive as long as 50 years, so it is advisable to prepare the growing site very thoroughly. Once established, plants are reasonably free from maintenance. Best of all, they produce large, fully double flowers that are fragrant and gorgeous! Very long-lived in the vase, the flowers can even be upended and dried for use as everlastings.
Peony is easily grown in rich, fertile, well-drained soil in full sun to part shade. The herbaceous (soft stemmed) shrubby plant will typically grow to 3' tall by mid-spring, bloom, display attractive foliage throughout the summer and early fall, and then die to the ground after frost. The glossy green foliage is divided into oval to lance-shaped leaflets. Each plant will flower for approximately 7-10 days. You can plant numerous peony varieties with staggered bloom times to extend the total peony bloom period to approximately 6 weeks during May and June. The large flowers usually need staking or other support because they tend to arch toward the ground and can be literally driven into the ground by a hard rain.
Remove spent flowers after blooming and cut foliage to the ground and remove from the garden in fall after the frost. Plants do not need to be divided and can be left undisturbed for years. It is effective as an accent or an herbaceous hedge along fences, sidewalks, driveways or walls, and makes an excellent cut flower. Ants on peony buds are common and totally harmless.
Tip: If plants do not flower, possible causes include (1) planted too deep or too shallow, (2) too much shade, (3) late frost killed buds or (4) plant is too young or has been recently moved or disturbed.
To plant bare root perennials, dig a hole large enough to encompass the roots without bending or circling. Set the plant in place so the crown (part of the plant where the root meets the stem) with eyes is about 1-2” below the soil surface. Cover with soil to the original soil surface and water thoroughly.
Peony Growing Guide
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